The University of Guelph has acquired the Sleeman Collection, chronicling the history of one of the country’s oldest breweries, for its archival and special collections at the McLaughlin Library. The collection includes photographs, business records, newspapers, correspondence and other materials showing the brewing dynasty’s impact on Canada in the past 150 years, from industry advancement to infrastructure to politics.
“For many years, we have been accumulating my family’s historical artifacts,” said John W. Sleeman, company founder and chairman and great-great-grandson of the original brewmaster, John H. Sleeman.
“I have always hoped that we could somehow preserve them for the future but also make them available for the public to see and enjoy. I’m delighted to say that, with the University of Guelph’s wonderful archival facilities, this has now been made possible.”
The University will unveil the collection at an event April 3 during Archives Awareness Week.
Sleeman will speak along with Ian Bowering, a beer historian and author, and Rebecca Graham, the University’s chief information officer and chief librarian. The library will display portions of the collection and launch a new collection website that day.
The event will take place from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Academic Town Square, located on the first floor of the library with a reception to follow.
The University has acquired the material in phases over recent years. U of G hopes to have the collection designated as Canadian cultural property. Under four main categories – biographies, breweries, regional history, and sports and social clubs – the website highlights the company’s history from its founder’s arrival in Upper Canada through Prohibition to today’s brewing operation. More extensive records on these and other areas are available for study in the collection itself.